I want so make sure for this discussion post that i am able to correctly state and discuss the film for further practice.
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Bicycles thieves 1948, Directed by Vittorio De Sica, released in U.S. in 1949 where it won Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. This original Italian poster says “The lives of the humble in a work of art.”
The conditions in post-war Rome (Italy) were economically and morally difficult. In addition to chaos in the city due to physical destruction and spotty, post-war reconstruction, many migrants came from poor villages to try to find a better life, and there was competition for housing and work. There was also social tension between the classes regarding what Italy would look like going forward. It had a strong Communist Party as well as a Democratic one, and the Catholic Church had exerted influence for hundreds of years, yet many poor felt hopeless and fatalistic.
In this complex landscape, the small stories of simple people could be easily overlooked, the individuals instead becoming faceless and lumped together as a statistic, as “the poor.” The neorealist filmmakers sought to keep the faces on the screen and therefore in our minds, and to bring awareness of an everyday reality that was largely invisible to all but those who lived it. Italian neorealism impacted world filmmaking overall, and many countries, including India, Argentina, Mexico and Cuba developed their own neorealist styles. It was a political and a revolutionary approach to film, in the true, Marxist sense of the word, because the eye of the camera was on the reality- the hard life of the every day person trying to survive and yet overlooked by the Hollywood film industry. No glamour, no forced happy ending.
However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that Italian neorealism is absolutely 100% authentic without any of the manipulative “artificiality” of Hollywood films. The director makes thousands of decisions to convey a certain atmosphere in a neorealist film. For example, the director might film 10 hours of footage and keep only 2. He has made decisions to cut out what doesn’t tell his story. The only TRUE realist camera is a security camera on a wall! However, what is “real” in these neorealist films is the feeling, mood, and accurate depiction of everyday life of a certain class of society. Remember too, that authentic locations are used, often non-professional actors, regular outdoor light, and a lot of ad-libbed dialog and movements.
Prompt- Focus on #1 then finish with a mention of #2.
- Neorealist filmmakers want us to know that poverty is about more than hunger or lack of adequate shelter. It also affects human dignity, social relationships, and can undermine human desire to live a moral life. Choose one or two examples from the film that have to do with the underlined items and describe how these issues are portrayed in the neorealist style. Think about camera, light, dialog, pace, location, etc.
- What specific small touches and details are included in this film that make it seem more down-to-earth and realistic than typical Hollywood style films? In addition to elements of mise-en-scene (everything that you see on the screen) you can also mention the techniques used in filming.
Use 3-4 Time Stamps.
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